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Mississippi State University Libraries
Digital Collections

About this collection

In 1878 the Governor John Marshall Stone established a Board of Trustees whose mission was to establish an Agricultural and Mechanical College for the state of Mississippi. This digital collection contains materials relating to the establishment of Mississippi A&M (later Mississippi State University) and the presidencies of its first two administrations.

 

In 1862, the United States Congress passed the Morrill Act, which allowed for the creation of land-grant institutions whose purpose was to educate young Americans in the Agricultural and Mechanical Arts. Following the Civil War, Mississippi established two land-grant institutions, Alcorn A&M in 1871 (an agricultural college for African-Americans) and Mississippi A&M in 1878. In establishing Mississippi A&M the Board of Trustees, led by Governor John Marshall Stone and Professor David Phares, elected former Confederate General Stephen Dill Lee as the first President of the Institution.

 

The materials in this collection represent the earliest documents from Mississippi State University. The Board of Trustees Minutes cover the initial establishment of the University in 1878, the selection of Starkville as the site for the College, the purchase of land from William Bell, the selection of Stephen Dill Lee as President, the construction of buildings on campus, and the establishment of the College's rules and regulations and the opening of the College in 1880.

 

The Stephen D. Lee Papers contain correspondence both to and from General Lee with parents, students, Board members, and faculty from 1880 to 1899. Also included in this collection are materials on the creation of an Agricultural Experiment station, Committees, faculty salaries, and student petitions.

 

Following the resignation of General Lee, Governor Stone was selected as the second President of Mississippi A&M. He took over in 1899, but unfortunately died less than two years into his tenure. The John Marshall Stone Papers contain correspondence both to and from Stone with parents, students, Board members, and faculty from 1899 to 1900. Also included in this collection are materials on Committees, faculty salaries, and student petitions.

 

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